The Effects of Education and Family Planning Programs on Fertility in Indonesia.
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Author(s): Angeles G, Guilkey D K, Mroz T A
Numerous studies indicate that female education is a major determinant of completed family size and the length of the interval between births. The estimated reductions of fertility rates due to increases in education typically dwarf the effects of most other variables, including variables included to measure the availability of family planning programs. Based on such estimates, some analysts have concluded that programs to increase women's educational attainments might be the most effective way to stimulate reductions in fertility in developing countries. There are, however, two serious deficiencies in the research relating educational attainment to fertility that could give rise to invalid inferences about the causal impacts of education. First, many public programs, including health and family planning programs, may influence a woman's decisions about education, and these indirect programmatic effects might be large. Second, nearly all existing studies of the impacts of education on fertility assume that a woman's educational attainment is unrelated to other unobserved determinants of these outcomes. Education could be serving as a proxy for such unobservable determinants as ability, motivation, and parental background, as these factors most likely are important determinants of a woman's educational attainment. The estimated impact of education on fertility most likely includes the impacts of these unobserved factors as well as the true education effect. In our empirical work, we use the 1993 Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS). We compare the estimated impacts of education on fertility from a simple model that assumes the exogeneity of education and an unobserved factor model that allows for endogeneity of schooling. Our empirical results provide key evidence that the importance of female education as means of reducing fertility would be overstated for Indonesia if one uses a naive empirical model that does not control for endogeneity due to the self-selection of a woman's educational status.
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